An effective step for seismic risk mitigation in large urban areas under high seismic risk is to identify the most vulnerable buildings that may sustain significant damage during a future earthquake. Once they are identified properly, existing seismic risks may be reduced either by retrofitting such buildings, or by replacing them with new buildings in view of a particular risk-mitigation planning strategy. A fast and simple seismic risk-assessment procedure for vulnerable urban building stocks is proposed in this study. It is basically a sidewalk survey procedure based on observing selected building parameters from the street side, and calculating a performance score for determining the risk priorities for buildings. Statistical correlations have been obtained for measuring the sensitivity of damage to the assigned performance score by employing a database consisting of 454 damaged buildings surveyed after the 1999 Duzce earthquake in Turkey. The results revealed that the proposed screening procedure provides a simple but effective tool for selecting those buildings that have significant damage risk. These buildings have to be subjected to a more detailed assessment for a final decision on their seismic risk level.